Lloyd Burr at Newshub calls out Alfred Ngaro’s apology for the bullshit that it is – Alfred Ngaro’s threat to Willie Jackson was worse than just a brain fart
Alfred Ngaro’s threat that non-government organisations shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds is extraordinary.
Not just because of his complete lack of judgement, or the fact he did it on stage in front of hundreds of National Party members, or because it shows cracks in the party’s extreme culture of discipline.
It’s extraordinary because he didn’t back down from his comments until he was forced to.
It was much more than just a brain fart or a case of misspeaking.
In other words, he was saying if NGOs who receive government funding criticise the Government’s housing approach, they risk losing that funding.
Prime Minister Bill English and National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce were quick to activate damage control, downplaying the comments as “naive from a new minister”.
But before they could both get their hands on him and before the storm of bad PR hit, Mr Ngaro was still unapologetic when Newshub asked him to explain.
Since saying this, Mr Ngaro has issued a statement saying he “absolutely regrets” what he said in his speech, which he admits was “poorly worded”.
It begs the question – why did he repeat the sentiment in an interview on camera after the speech if he regretted saying them?
My guess – he didn’t regret it until he was told to.
An anonymous opinion piece on Stuff is pretty pointed – It’s a third term thing – why Alfred Ngaro hurt National
Alfred Ngaro has apologised to his cabinet colleagues for his conference blunder. But the damage has already been done. The junior minister delivered a speech at the weekend where he openly bragged about him and his colleagues having the power to punish any one that bagged the government by withholding their taxpayer funding.
How can it hurt National? Because it feeds the perception of third term arrogance and bullying that are the enemy of any third term government.
Ngaro might be sorry now but the circumstances of his original threat – not one delivered il sotto, in a smoky room, but from the stage to a crowded National Party conference – leaves worrying questions over whether his is an isolated view, or reflective of a wider culture among his colleagues.
I’ll take option two, “reflective of a wider culture among his colleagues”. Check out this piece on Checkpoint.
ON NOW: 5 of 9 NGOs @JohnJCampbell spoke to today said they strongly believed being critical of the government could impact on their funding
— Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ) May 15, 2017
Another reason Ngaro's comments are a problem for the Govt is its entire social investment approach requires trust and cooperation of NGOs
— Bernard Hickey (@bernardchickey) May 15, 2017